Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RIA Novosti: Russian military denies missile deployment near NATO borders

20:20 30/11/2010
Iskander M tactical misssiles

MOSCOW, November 30 (RIA Novosti)
The chief of Russia's Armed Forces General Staff on Tuesday denied media rumors that Russia had deployed short-range nuclear missiles near borders with NATO allies.

The Wall Street Journal said in an article published on Tuesday that the United States believes Russia had moved "short-range tactical nuclear warheads to facilities near NATO allies in . . . spring."

"We have not deployed any missiles in the Kaliningrad region," Gen. Nikolai Makarov said.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of NATO missile-defense facilities near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat and destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

The United States scrapped earlier plans last September for an antimissile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Moscow welcomed the move, and President Dmitry Medvedev said later that Russia would drop plans to deploy Iskander-M tactical missiles in its Kaliningrad Region, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania.

The Iskander-M system (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) is equipped with two solid-propellant single-stage 9M723K1 guided missiles with "quasi-ballistic" capability. The missiles have a range of 400 km (250 miles) and can reportedly carry conventional and nuclear warheads.

However, Washington has not given up on its European missile shield initiative. In May, the United States opened a temporary military base in northern Poland, just 80 km (50 miles) from the border of Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, in accordance with an agreement negotiated under former President George Bush in 2008 - a move which rekindled criticism from Russia.

The Wall Street Journal article coincides with the ongoing battle in the U.S. Congress over the ratification of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia. It could fuel Republican Party opposition to the new START treaty and hamper President Barack Obama's efforts to get the document ratified.

According to the piece, "Republican critics in the Senate say it was a mistake for President Barack Obama to agree to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) treaty with Russia...without dealing with outstanding questions about Moscow's tactical nuclear weapons," which the treaty does not address.

Rightardia believes the GOP position is bogus. The START treaty was first proposed by president Ronald Reagan and only addressed strategic systems. The US can save billions by reducing its nuclear arsenal by one third.

The US spends billions every year for missile men to sit in solos 'waiting for Godot," while plots fly B52 local missions around their air force bases and submariners tool around in billion dollar nuclear subs waiting for Armageddon. 

The most apt description of a nuclear exchange is Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). Putting a person such as Sarah Palin in command of the US nuclear TRIAD is a very scary proposition, indeed!




No comments: